A week-long deadlock between the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration and students is still on as the University administration has refused to take back its decision of implementing the University Grants Commission’s guidelines on post-graduation admissions.
Protesting against M. Jagadesh Kumar, JNU Vice-chancellor (V-C), Left-aligned students and some faculty members occupied the administrative block, which houses the office of the V-C, on 10 February and barred all JNU staff members, including the V-C, from entering the building.
“It has been more than a week that Left-linked JNU students have stalled academic and administrative work on campus. I see the protests as more against the V-C than any serious issues. Left-aligned students have been protesting against the V-C since he assumed his office last year,” Poonam Kudesia, JNU spokesperson, said.
A large banner stating “JNU Admin Occupied” has been hung on the building and flowerpots have been lined up to obstruct the movement of vehicles. However, though the V-C has been insisting on a dialogue process, the students’ community is unwilling.
“A small number of unruly students have barred me and hundreds of staff and officers from entering the administrative building and carrying out daily work on the campus. The administration has made repeated efforts to convince them that the UGC guidelines have to be followed mandatorily, but the students are reluctant to understand this simple fact,” JNU V-C Kumar said.
“This illegal occupation of the administrative building is a criminal offence since a government building is occupied and its employees are being prevented from discharging their duty by the agitating students,” V-C Kumar said. However, for dismantling the illegal occupation, the administration has filed an FIR at the Vasant Kunj-North police station on 15 February.
Pramod Kumar, JNU Registrar, said: “I am not being able to sign pay slips, medical grants and Income Tax receipts of JNU employees. Administrative and academic functioning of the University has been stalled due to the illogical protests by the students.”
“The administration cannot bargain over a seat cut as prescribed in the UGC guidelines. It is a 2009 norm (which was repeated in last year’s UGC regulations) that mandates limits on how many scholars a teacher can guide. The V-C will speak to the JNUSU on Monday. It is up to the students if they want to continue the blockade,” Pramod Kumar, who was prevented from entering his office, said.
About the ongoing deadlock on JNU campus, Professor Makarand Paranjape said: “The UGC wants to rationalise both intake and allocation of PhD scholars; the left ignores this to turn it into a social justice issue.”
“I think there may be more trouble ahead as the leftist teachers’ associations in JNU are all set to give a wrong interpretation to the UGC notification,” Paranjape added.
Mohit Kumar, the president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), rejected the allegations of the JNU administration that the students have launched a personal campaign against the V-C. Kumar, who represents the All India Students’ Association on the campus, said; “Our demand is to strengthen the research centres and fight against any encroachment on them.”